April is quite a transitional month for gardeners in many parts of North America. A few spots are shaking off the last of the snow, while others are experience the temperature soar as we approach summer crop planting time. But wherever you are, there’s something to like this month. The things I like about April in my area:
Bluebells. The Virginia bluebell is a thing of beauty, rare and rich, massed in shady plantings or naturalized along creek beds.
Asparagus. It starts slowly the first week of the month in my part of Virginia, but it keeps going strong all month and into May.
Wildflowers. Take a walk, and it’s likely you’ll see a different wildflower than you saw on your last walk just a few days ago. White. Blue. Purple. It’s all good.
Clouds washing over lawns and gardens and houses and everything else. White clouds, even dark clouds, whipped by winds, lend a feeling of transience and process to the month and to the season as they carve moving patterns below.
The end of college basketball season.
The start of baseball season.
Setting out plants on the back deck for hardening. By the end of the month, annuals and dahlia bulb sprouts can go outside on nice mornings and can spend the night on the deck on particularly mild ones.
Tulips. I can’t grow them unless I just want to help feed the deer in my neighborhood. But Lynne Whelan tells me that there are more than 100,000 tulips at the Biltmore estate in Asheville, N.C. That’s like half of Holland.
Peach blossoms so numerous they seem to obliterate all signs of branches.
How things look on a cloudy day; the pale pinks and whites of tree blossoms seem to stand out best on a cloudy, even drizzly, afternoon.
The way the lawn looks after it’s mowed, before the summer drought reduces its deep green to a sickly brown.
The fact that it’s not December, January or February.
Everything looks three-dimensional, and you don’t even have to wear special glasses.
Celebrating my beautiful wife’s birthday.
Spending our tax refunds.
Putting up a pea trellis and a few bamboo sticks to help guide the young tendrils as they claw their way incessantly toward the sun.
Not minding that there’s dirt in the backseat of my 2002 Volkswagen Golf, because even if I clean it, it will be dirty again in a few days, and because it’s, well, a 2002 Volkswagen Golf.
Saucer magnolia (aka “tulip tree), Bradford pear and other early-blooming trees that think it’s still March.
Not getting invited to a royal wedding.
Wandering through garden shops, wondering if I could use a stack of this or a pound of that.
Not having to water anything—outside, anyway.
Onions. The first spring onions come real fast and don’t stop.
Pulling up a dandelion and getting a real long tap root.
Volunteer plants, such as spilled lettuce seeds in borders and tomatoes sprouted from last year’s rotten fruit.
Warming muddy fingers in jeans pockets after weeding and thinning on a chilly morning.
That it’s almost May.
Things I Don’t Like About April
Not going there. Early April is too mellow to spoil the good buzz.
Have a great month, folks. And let me know what you like about April.